ISLAMABAD: The cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal granting India the status of “most favoured nation” in a bid to boost trade between the two countries.
“The federal cabinet has unanimously approved India as the most favoured nation,” Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan told a news conference in Islamabad.
“This will bring economic benefits to us and this decision has been taken in the national interest,” Awan added, conceding that some cabinet ministers had initially voiced objections to the proposal from the commerce ministry.
Pakistan has already bestowed the designation on more than 100 countries, including China – Pakistan’s closest foreign ally and India’s key rival.
Objections from cabinet ministers were related to the decades-old dispute over the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which has been the cause of two wars between India and Pakistan, and national security.
“The prime minister reviewed all the objections and took the cabinet into confidence that it will not hurt our national security, and then they unanimously approved this summary sent by the ministry of commerce,” Awan said.
When Pakistan Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim visited India in September, both sides agreed to double the trade within three years to $6 billion, set up a second trade border post and facilitate business visas for their citizens.
India and Pakistan this year also resumed formal peace talks, broken off after the 2008 Mumbai attacks in which 166 people were killed.